Kobi Korean BBQ (Thornhill)

Kobi Korean BBQ Thornhill

The smell of searing meat mixed with the faint caramelizing marinades gets me salivating. It’s agony having to wait for a table while visiting a Korean BBQ establishment, seeing the hot cast iron plates doing their duty and not enjoying the fruits of their labour. It’s difficult, but I try not to stare too much at fellow diners, my longing eyes likely making their meals uncomfortable.

If you don’t want to experience all this, call ahead to Kobi Korean BBQ to get a reservation. It’s packed during the weekends and even with a reservation it can be another 15-30 minute wait.

Also, go with at least four people. For the larger dishes, tables need to place at least two orders of each - although you’re able to mix-and-match amongst the options. For example, for their famed fondue BBQ platter, you can order the spicy chicken and cheese ($18.99) and the spicy squid and cheese ($19.99), they’ll get combined into a larger dish. The end product is predominantly onions, the chicken and squid relatively sparse, but everything is mixed into a wonderful flavourful sweet and spicy sauce.

Kobi Korean BBQ Thornhill: chicken, squid and cheese

If you run out of cheese an additional order ($5.99), the equivalent of two cups (and you can tell as it’s served in a measuring cup), is available to add to the plate. With the excess onions I suggest you combine them with a couple of bowls of rice, cheese, kimchi and garlic into the hot plate and make your own fried rice. We also threw in some seared pork belly and it was fantastic!

The seafood pancake with garlic chives ($6.99) is one of the better ones I’ve had with tons of ingredients and a sweet soy on the side. As you’ll notice, there is no picture and this is largely due to the dishes coming out too quickly. With a third of the table already occupied by the BBQ hot plate and another third consumed by all the utensils and small dishes there’s no room for food. We literally had to throw the beef onto the hot plate and divvy up the pancake onto our plates to keep things flowing.

Since the hot plate utilizes so much real estate, it’d be a shame not to try some of their BBQ items (also a minimum of two items but can be combined). The marinated beef ribs ($24.99) was delicious, a satisfying thickness, tender and well flavoured.

Kobi Korean BBQ Thornhill: beef

Meanwhile, while ordering the pork belly our waitress asked if we’d prefer a thick or thin cut. Answering “thick” she looked at us dubiously and suggested we switch to the thin instead. Who am I to argue against experience? So, the thinly sliced pork belly ($15.99) was placed instead. Not having tried the thicker cut, I really can’t see why it wouldn’t have suited us, but the thin ones ended up being fine – cooking quickly and there were more slices to go around – a quarter which ended up in the make-your-own fried rice.

Kobi Korean BBQ Thornhill: pork belly

Accompanying the larger dishes were also a host of complimentary items:
  • Various banchan of spicy napa cabbage kimchi, turnip kimchi, pickled cucumbers, a sad portion of sesame oil laced green beans, and peanuts.
  • A bowl of steamed egg (seen in the cover photo). As always so delicious that I could have easily consumed the whole thing myself.
  • A bowl of spicy bean tofu soup placed in the middle of the cast iron plate so that it’s kept hot and bubbling the entire time.
  • Leafs of romaine lettuce, a napa and green onion slaw, thinly sliced raw red onions, slices of raw jalapeno, and garlic to wrap the BBQ meats into.
Kobi Korean BBQ Thornhill: banchan

Despite the initial panic when all the food arrived and difficulties in capturing staff attention to get a refill of depleting condiments, we had a jovial and enjoyable dinner. The tightly packed table configuration does mean the circulation in the restaurant is poor and the dining room fills with smoke. If this bothers you and the weather is nice, ask to be seated outside where the view of the parking lot may not be the best but at least you won’t reek of cooked meat afterwards.

Kobi Korean BBQ Thornhill: patio

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 100 Steeles Avenue West

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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